A former North Carolina sheriff’s deputy is claiming in a new lawsuit that he was fired for trying to stick to the “Billy Graham Rule” in both his personal and professional life.
Manuel Torres, 51, is seeking $300,000 in damages. He claims he was fired in 2017 from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office because he refused to be alone with a female trainee. His reason for this was that he was trying to adhere to the Billy Graham Rule, a belief held by some Evangelical Christians that men should avoid spending long periods of time alone with women who are not their wives.
“Torres holds the strong and sincere religious belief that the Holy Bible prohibits him, as a married man, from being alone for extended periods with a female who is not his wife,” reads the federal lawsuit.
With a female trainee, Torres would have been required to be alone with the female for long periods of time, especially in their patrol car.
Torres reportedly asked to be exempt from having a female trainee, but his requests were denied. According to the lawsuit, a superior “expressed his anger” two months after Torres’ original request. He claims he was let go from the department not long after with no explanation. He could not find work at other law enforcement agencies following his firing, which he also claims is because of the stance he took with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
The former deputy says in his lawsuit that he was fired “because of his religious beliefs and because he continued to request a reasonable religious accommodation from a job duty that violated his sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Lee County Sheriff Tracy Lynn Carter and the towns of Siler City and Apex, where Torres sought employment following being let go, are all named as defendants in the former officer’s lawsuit. Torres had worked for the Lee County Sheriff’s office since 2012.
Torres is a Southern Baptist and sometimes serves as a deacon at his church.
Torres also claims in his lawsuit that the religious discrimination against him manifested itself in more ways than just his firing. He says the sergeant who denied his request refused to respond to his call for backup during a multi-car accident “in an unsafe area.” Torres said he had to “tase two fighting suspects” during the incident, according to Buzzfeed News.
In his autobiography “Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham,” Graham described what became known as the “Billy Graham Rule” as part of a “shared commitment” with other evangelical leaders to “uphold the Bible’s standard of absolute integrity and purity for evangelists.”
Source: Fox News
The “rule” was concocted among a group of evangelicals, including Graham, who devised a list of “resolutions or commitments among ourselves that would guide us in our future evangelic work.”
Graham admitted later in his autobiography that he did break the rule once to have lunch with Hillary Clinton, but it was a private conversation in a public dining area.
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